Auckland lockdown extended for 12 days following 13 new cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand
Until this week, there had been no cases of Covid-19 reported in New Zealand for over 100 days.
Auckland, the largest city in New Zealand, will remain under Alert Level 3 for a further 12 days after 13 new cases of Covid-19 were reported in the country on Friday.
The rest of New Zealand will remain under Alert Level 2 until 26 August, two weeks after measures were first taken by the government following the emergence of the first cases of Covid-19 in the country in over 100 days.
30 cases of Covid-19 have been reported in New Zealand in recent days, all but one of which is linked to a family cluster in Auckland. Two of those cases, linked to the Auckland cluster, were reported on Friday in the town of Tokoroa in Waikato, 200km south of Auckland.
Of the 29 cases linked to the Auckland cluster, one person is being treated in hospital.
At a press briefing on Friday, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed that 38 people linked to the cluster are in government-managed quarantine as a precautionary measure. Over 30,000 Covid-19 tests have been carried out in New Zealand in the last 48 hours.
Ardern said that the new cases are not linked to community cases of the virus reported in the country in March and April. The Prime Minister also dismissed speculation that Auckland would have to move to Alert Level 4 as a result of the recent cases.
“As we have said from the start, our overall Covid-19 strategy remains elimination,” Ardern said.
“That means stamping out the virus whenever it comes back. We know the incubation period for Covid-19, and our experience of the previous cluster means we can expect to see more cases as part of this cluster, it will grow before it slows. We have been world-leading in our Covid response, we can do all of that again.”
“And so, in keeping with our cautionary approach and New Zealand's philosophy of going hard and going early, today, cabinet has agreed to maintain our current settings for an additional 12 days, bringing us to a full two weeks in total,” she added.
"Our current expectation is that by this time, the perimeter of the cluster will be identified, will be isolated and we can move to level two in Auckland with confidence."
For people living in Auckland, Alert Level 3 means working from home unless you are an essential worker, while public facilities as well as bars and restaurants will be closed.
All schools and childcare facilities will also remain closed, except for children of essential workers.
Travel to and from Auckland is forbidden unless you actually live there and gatherings of over 10 people are also banned.
Face masks are also requested to be worn by the public.
Elsewhere in New Zealand under Alert Level 2, social distancing of two metres applies and face masks are asked to be worn in places where social distancing is difficult, such as on public transport.
Gatherings are limited to under 100 people and businesses must follow physical distancing and record keeping guidelines.